The National Civic League is committed to addressing one of the country's most persistent challenges--the gap in reading achievement that separates many low income students from their peers.

In 2012, NCL will focus the All-America City Awards on communities that develop strategies in the three areas that have the most potential to drive improvements in grade level reading: 1) school readiness, 2) attendance and 3) summer learning.

Educators and researchers have long recognized the importance of mastering reading by the end of third grade, yet two thirds of U.S. schoolchildren are not reaching that critical benchmark.

NCL's efforts on this important issue are part the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, a partnership between funders, business leaders and community groups that seeks to increase the number of low income children who read at grade level by third grade.

We are asking communities to sign a letter of an intent, demonstrating their willingness to participate in the 2012 All-America City Grade Level Reading Award program.

For an invitation to apply for the 2012 award, click here.

For more information on the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, click here.